Couples choose to end marriages for a variety of reasons. If you share children with an ex-spouse, though, you may not be able to walk away completely. Instead, you likely must share parental duties. Even if you and your former partner do not get along, you also may need to defer to his or her parenting style. You should not, however, have to put up with parental alienation.
In simple terms, parental alienation happens when one parent tries to turn the children against the other parent. That is, your ex-spouse may hurt your relationship with your kids by making them fear, distrust or despise you. Here are four ways to fight parental alienation:
1. Keep a record
If alienation is severe and pervasive, you may be able to convince a judge to modify your existing custody order. Before you do, though, you likely need some documentation about your former spouse’s bad behaviors. Therefore, keep a record of any alienating actions that you observe.
2. Stay in touch
An alienating ex-spouse may try to interfere with your visitation or communication rights. As such, you must work diligently to stay in touch with your children. This may include talking on the phone, sending text messages, attending extracurricular activities or taking care of your kids in your home.
3. Focus on your kids
It can be easy to engage in mudslinging with an alienating ex-spouse. Doing so, of course, is not likely to be productive. Accordingly, try to focus on your children’s top interests. Furthermore, do not make disparaging comments about your ex-spouse in front of your kids.
4. Find a therapist
Parental alienation may take a significant toll on the relationship that you have with your kids. It may also stunt your children’s emotional development. Therefore, you may need to find a therapist to help you repair the damage.
Even though you may have to defer to your former spouse’s parenting style, you do not have to stand idly by while your ex-partner destroys your parent-child relationship. If you suspect that your ex-spouse is engaging in parental alienation, acting quickly and reasonably is essential. After all, the emotional well-being of your kids may be on the line.